Intimacy and Sacred Sexuality Workshops at Into The WIld Beltane Fire Festival
A few weekends ago Shivapriya and I were lucky to attend the Into The Wild Beltane Fire Festival, which was held just on the Kent/Sussex border in rural England.
A “family friendly’ festival which is (supposed to be) drink and drugs free, it’s a small festival that features the usual mix of music and entertainment - but also has a lot of workshops over the four day period on topics from things like “Hive: A Constellation Workshop on the Honey Bee” or “Death Cafe Drop In” to discuss grief and loss.
We attended many workshops, but in particular we wanted to attend a couple on topics related to sex, sexuality, tantra, intimacy and tantric sex.
There were three on the plan which seemed appropriate, but we decided to skip the first one which was a general introduction to Tantric Sex as we felt it might be too basic for us and other people would get more from it - there was a huge line into the yurt anyway.
So we decided to attend two sessions both on the Sunday of the festival:
Deepening Intimacy: Sacred Touch Ritual
Sacred Sexuality: a transmission of empowerment
Deepening Intimacy: Sacred Touch Ritual
The first session we attended was held in an amazing yurt, decorated with a mandala and crystal at one end, where the host sat with her two partners, beautiful lanterns and carpets on the floor. A very inviting environment.
With about 30-40 people in the room, we were asked to get into groups of three, or, if you were a couple, and preferred to remain as a couple, to do so as a two. This is what we chose to do.
The instructor, a tall woman called Lara Klein-Barge, informed us that this ritual involved touching one person within the group at a time to explore boundaries, the concept of permission, yes, no, and getting used to being touched, enjoying the pleasure and feeling the here and now without blame or guilt.
With one person selected as the receiver, the other person, or other two, would be asked, by the received, to begin touching them. There were a series of words which could be used, and only those words can be used, to instruct the givers on what you want. There words were:
ONE - meaning I want one person to begin touching me. If there were three people in the group, one can be used again to swap them over and so forth.
TWO - meaning I want two people to touch me.
STOP - meaning stop completely and remove all hands from the body.
PAUSE - meaning leave the hands in place but stop moving.
YES - meaning I am enjoying that, keep doing it.
People began to get into couples or groups of three. There were straight couples, same sex couples, and obviously, in the groups of three, there were some made up of two women and a man, and some two men and a woman. One group, however, was three men, and we noticed, without being too nosey, that these men were very uncomfortable being in that mix, and one of them went to join two women, while the two remaining men left the session. I was a little disappointed in them at this as I felt that while I am a straight, if I had found myself in a group of three men, I would have been open to the idea to explore what was going on and push boundaries. But each to their own I suppose.
Shivapriya and I took it in turns to experience the touching as part of the ritual. First of all this was done standing up, facing each other, and after some eye gazing, which we’re very used to from our tantric practice, we began touching. I touched her first and followed her instructions as to what she wanted. This was, in all honesty, very straight forward and whilst I skirted the breasts, and maybe brushed close to the . yoni from time to time, most of it was arms, head, legs, back, etc.
But it was pleasurable to give and she said it was good to receive. So, after her turn it was mine. We followed a similar pattern with her touching my arms, legs, back, head etc. It was good, but a bit of me was a still aware I was in a large tent with a load of other people.
However, the second session involved us lying down and doing it on the floor. For a variety of reasons I guess this felt more intimate and closer in general, and when again she went first, and I began to touch her, it was an extremely pleasurable experience. We had set some boundaries up front - that the cock and the pussy were out of bounds, but everything else was kind of OK. And so, I began to touch, and caress and stroke.
And I certainly got lost in what we were doing, and was no longer aware, or perhaps not concerned, with the other people in the room. Shivapriya herself began to exhibit signs of aroused enjoyment, and I could tell from her face that she was getting very excited and sexually aroused. She even said after as we chatted about what it had felt like, that it had made her wet.
When it was my turn, certainly I was already feeling turned on from what I had been doing to her, and that was plain to see. She began to touch me, and caress in a similar way. Almost a tantric massage with a very light touch and through clothing.
This was the last session, and it was extremely enjoyable - but I think perhaps it was for people who have trouble with intimacy, or are not as connected as they would like to be and is a way for them to explore each other and break down barriers. It was fun, but wasn’t revolutionary for us.
Shivapriya has, incidentally, previously experienced a similar session with a different partner at Burning Man in the USA which was, I think, a little more ‘involved’ and more naked. She said there were similar overtones though.
Sacred Sexuality: A Transmission of Empowerment
We were expecting a lot from this session. We had heard about the host, a woman called Jewels Wingfield that people had been talking about around the festival all day, saying that her sessions were amazing. So we were excited to see her.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get what we wanted. The session was a talk which first of all was not advertised as being only for women in terms of context - but was made very clear up front by Jewels that it had almost no direct content for men at all although we were ‘welcome to stay and absorb”. She said we might find some things that triggered us as men (I didn’t at all).
The session was unfortunately a mishmash of different female sexuality, coming of age, tribal stories from all over the world mashed together to create an entertaining, but completely unfounded and confusing narrative.
Shivapriya found the whole thing extremely frustrating whilst I just felt it firstly, didn’t teach us anything new at all and, secondly, was just all over the place. Her discussions as Celts as being the original English tribes was the only thing that did trigger me! Such a disappointment.
Conclusion: A festival Well Worth Going To
All in wall we had a wonderful time at the Into The Wild Beltane First Festival. The sessions we attended we have not mentioned her - like the sacred singing cirle held in a teepee, were excellent. The music was great, and the naked sauna was a highlight on such a cold May weekend. We’d definitely go again.